Last updated on March 15th, 2021
More support to help parents help their son or daughter beat an eating disorder
I'll remind you of my own offerings first: there's my book – I've structured it so that you dip in and out of it and get quick answers, then go into more depth later. Check out my videos too, and my Bitesize audios which are the quickest and least stressful way into speeding up your learning. My free helpsheets will also get you going fast.
Here are other sources of information and support that I particularly like.
Fast learning and support if you're overwhelmed
Get a great, positive, fast overview with this short video produced by Dion Howard of a New Zealand family's experience with the illness and with recovery.
Next, grab yourself half an hour, as this next video accurately tells parents what they need to know right from the start.
Visit the Around the Dinner Table forum. There you will find parents from all around the world, some of whom are new to anorexia, and some of whom have amassed impressive knowledge and experience over the years. You'll get answers to your questions, and people ready to give you support and understanding at any time of the day, sometimes several times a day. Note that you can read several years' worth of posts without the need to join.
Read whatever you need right now in Around the Dinner Table's Hall of Fame posts.
More sources of information when you have more time
James Lock and Daniel Le Grange
These are the creators of family-based treatment, also popularly named 'The Maudlsey Approach'. Their books for parents ('Help your teenager beat an eating disorder') and their manuals for therapists ('Treatment manual for anorexia nervosa – a family-based approach' and "Treating bulimia in adolescents") are must-reads for clinicians, and I also recommend them to parents as they are both highly readable.
Every clinician treating adolescent eating disorders should be familiar with these books, given that in all english-speaking countries there are national/professional associations that recommend or even require that a family-based approach is used in preference to any other method.
When I was supporting my daughter, these books helped me understand a lot more of what I should be doing. On the other hand I still wondered 'how' to do it. As time went on I realised that I was not alone and that quite a few parents were wishing their therapists would give them more practical tips. This is what motivated me to write my own book.
I would urge all clinicians to get hold of the 'New applications' and the 'FBT for restrictive eating disorders' books from the same team, in order to go further and to update themselves with developments and applications of family therapy for eating disorders.
'Sick enough: A guide to the medical complications of eating disorders'
Dr G is a well-loved specialist in both eating disorders and internal medicine. Her care and respect for patients is evident. This is a short and accessible book, packed with expertise on digestive troubles (painful tummy?), hormones (is the contraceptive pill a good idea?), metabolism, and so on. She covers physical issues individuals encounter before and during treatment. An absolute must-read for all professionals, and really useful to many parents and many of those with an eating disorder, whatever their age.
'When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder'
Subtitle: 'Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Recover from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating'.
Written by the immensely trustworthy and competent family-based treatment (FBT) therapist Lauren Muhlheim, this book is just perfect. It has just the right length and the right level of depth to engage dazed and shocked parents with what they need to know, what they need to do, and how to do it.
Since you're on my website you may want to know how this book differs from mine. First I'd say, build yourself a mini-library. Parents and therapists tell me that the same advice, presented in different ways, encountered at different times, brings different 'Aha' moments.
I can't be objective but my guess is our books are similar. Lauren's is shorter and very successfully sticks to the essentials. I think that mine, being bigger, goes into more detail, with more examples and more discussion of the pros and cons around the many decisions parents face. Also, as a parent who's travelled the path, I put in more to help parents with their own emotions and with communication with their child. This comes at the cost of more pages.
There is a place for a shorter book that covers the essentials while also being big enough to offer substance — the kind of substance needed to make readers effective — and that's what Lauren has achieved.
Lauren asked me to comment on her draft just around the time I was wondering if I had the courage to write a shorter book. As I read through Lauren's manuscript I kept cheering, because it ticked all my boxes. Lauren has saved me one or two years of being hunched at a computer trying to make my sentences shorter.
Finally, Lauren Muhlheim's top professional qualifications give her book credibility. I dearly hope it will bring more therapists to FBT. I am celebrating that thanks to this book, more and more young people and their parents will have their life returned to them.
'Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover!: Anorexia recovery for the determined adult'
If you are an adult with an eating disorder, or want to help someone in that situation, then this is the book for you, and I highly recommend it. The support is similar to what I offer for parents of children and teens. There is a lot of passion and clarity about the illness and its treatment, and Tabitha's personal experience of recovery helps the message get through. If you are supporting a teen and want a better understanding of what's going on in their mind, this will help you. Whenever a book is written by ex-sufferers or their parents, I'm always cautious in case the stories are scary and zap parents of their energy. Quite the contrary with this book: it's all really positive and empowering. Tabitha Farrar also has a great podcast and website, and she supports adults in treatment with coaching.
Casey Crosbie and Wendy Sterling
'How to nourish your child through an eating disorder: A simple, plate by plate approach to rebuilding a healthy relationship with food'
With a family-based approach to treatment, we parents are in charge of food, and food is central to the treatment. According to the Family-Based Treatment (FBT) manual, the detail of what we feed is up to us. We are given the confidence to serve meals that have always been normal in our family, adapting quantities to ensure rapid weight restoration. We are also tasked with 'normalisation': we are empowered not be scared of what our child is scared of and we serve a wide variety of foods. Further into treatment, we help our children make their own choices, preparing them for independence.
FBT therapists validate that parents have the expertise and can do all this without shopping lists or calculations from professionals. I responded well to this because I found meal planning anxiety-raising and dull. The more natural and instinctive my shopping, cooking and serving could be, the better.
But it's normal for parents to ask for a lot more hand-holding at first, and there are many therapists who give parents meal plans. These may or may not allow for 'exchanges' and may or may not involve the use of a calculator.
In this book, two registered dieticians (who fully support FBT) meet parents half-way. They offer a friendly visual guide to what should be on your child's plate at various phases of treatment,. This will give you the confidence that you are feeding enough and in balance, whatever your family's habits (vegetarianism and — to some extent — veganism are included). If you need even more hand-holding, there are examples of meals, and lists of which foods belong to which food groups.
I believe this will give a whole lot of parents the reassurance and clarity they are crying out for, while also allowing them to be flexible and intuitive and use their common sense. I'm a bit different in what worked for me, but then I had the support of an FBT therapist, which you might not have. I imagine that even the simple plate eye-balling guide in this book would have been more than I wanted. Many of our favourite meals were all-in-ones: most food groups were combined in a pasta dish or casserole or a pie. Some were very filling and for my 10-year old, didn't need to cover the 10-inch plate mentioned in the book. I like that I learned to trust my common sense. But then, our therapist (who had the additional kudos of being a dietitian) had repeatedly empowered us to feed what was natural to us. If your therapist is neither empowering you nor answering your nutritional questions, this book will give you a nicely practical way forward.
This book has many other strengths: it explains FBT, explains medical aspects, goal weight, exercise, and most usefully, the role of food beyond weight restoration.
There is much work to be done to bring our children's eating back to normal, and when I speak with parents I often see this being neglected — too often treatment ends with a barely-weight-restored body and a mind that is still tortured by rules . This book does a great job of describing exposure to fear foods, altering meals depending on where your child is with weight restoration, and how to promote your child's flexibility and independence.
I like to take care of parents' emotional wellbeing and for that reason, I want to warn you that Chapter 4, on medical issues, could make you rather tense. If you are already anxious enough about what this illness might be doing to your child, you can skip this chapter and still benefit from the rest of the book. On the other hand, if your child is not being properly followed medically, this chapter will help you insist for more.
Since you're on my website you might be wondering how this book differs from mine. First, Crosbie and Sterling's book concentrates on topics related to nutrition whereas I aim to cover the whole parent experience. Both books talk about weight goals, exercise, weight gain, exposure to fear foods and normalising eating for independence. Crosbie and Sterling are clearly familiar with our children's plate-hurling abilities and highly experienced. At the same time their book doesn't delve into parent skills or strategies the way mine does. I'm not a dietitian and I don't give guidance on what should be on your child's plate during refeeding, whereas Crosbie and Sterling do. Buying books is not an either/or. If you're doing the difficult job of caring for your child, you probably need a small pile of books. It is useful to read similar messages put differently by parents and by professionals.
This short book, written by a certified FBT therapist, gives parents an overview of what anorexia is, what Family-Based Treatment is, and the main things parents will need to do. It gives an overview and guidance on skills parents need. This is ideal to give you the gist of FBT in just a couple of hours.
Evidence-based CBT for eating disorders
Above: therapists' manuals by Waller, then Fairburn, the Dalle Grave, then self-help books by Waller, then Fairburn
I explain CBT in some detail here.
Is your child being offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)? The first question is 'Why?' The first line of treatment for an eating disorder in children and adolescents should be a family-based approach, as recommended by all the reputable professional or national health bodies.
Glenn Waller, the author of my favourite CBT manual, will tell you exactly the same. If there is a good reason for your child getting CBT (e.g. if family-based treatment is not working or if your child is an adult) then I recommend you start with his manual. Although it is written for therapists, it will show you what to expect.
If your child is being offered something very different it may be because what's on offer is general CBT, whereas for eating disorders you need a form of CBT that is specially adapted and researched for eating disorders. I come across therapists' websites that are too vague on this. More on this here.
Another manual for therapists is Christopher Fairburn's. He calls his particular form 'enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders (CBT-E)'. Therapists can use the word CBT-E rather loosely, so check what manual they are following, if any.
Both manuals are highly readable. Both authors have written self-help versions (which I haven't read properly). Self-help is not appropriate for children and teens. Self-help may be appropriate in the first instance for adults with bulimia or binge-eating disorder, but not for anorexia. Note that in the UK's health system, self-help may be an option for adults but it's done through mental health services, not alone.
I have not yet read the Dalle Grave book, but if you have a teen who is being offered CBT-E, I should think this is essential reading. The Waller and the Fairburn manuals don't focus on this age group.
'Give food a chance'
This book is high on many parents' list of recommendations, and the Kartini clinic has a great reputation. I love the clarity and passion with which Julie O'Toole, the founder of the clinic, writes, both in this book and in her blog . There is an excellent section on the causes of eating disorders, the effects of food restriction (as revealed in the Minnesota semi-starvation study), and the sorry history of treatment approaches, including how parents came to be blamed and excluded from their children's treatment.
Julie O'Toole is a fierce advocate of the role of parents. She describes how the Kartini clinic works, with its hospital, day unit, and outpatient unit, how parents are involved, and how flexible meal-plans (which are included in the book) are devised. She explains her (to many parents, controversial) reasons for not including fast foods or sweets for an entire year (note that she doesn't work on exposure to fear foods, the way most of us do). There are excellent sections introducing the lay reader to the anatomy and physiology of the brain, and explaining the role of psychotropic medication. There are also explanations about target weight gain, ideal body weight and how it is determined.
This book will not give you any advice on how to get your child to eat at home. You might also want to skip some of the details about how the Kartini clinic works. But all in all, this is an important, instructive and highly readable book for parents, which I highly recommend.
'Brave girl eating'
Harriet Brown is a journalist whose daughter spiralled into anorexia at age 14. It's a flowing and gripping read, practical as well as moving. This family cared for their daughter at home and helped her to eat after rejecting options to hospitalise.
What you'll find in this book:
- it's a source of support, as you'll recognise similar stresses and challenges in your family. For this reason this is also a good book to ask your own parents and relatives to read, so that they understand what you're all going through.
- it's moving, but at the same time, it doesn't dwell on despair. So unless you're feeling particularly vulnerable right now, you should find that reading it doesn't turn you into mush, but helps you move forward.
- it gives you an insight into what's going in the child's mind, when they wish to eat but need their parent to make the decision for them.
- the author did considerable research and gives you just enough science to help you understand the nature, effects, and possible causes of the illness. Get a copy for each friend who needs to understand this illness in order to understand you and your child.
The only thing that's not 100% spot on with this book is … the cover of my edition. That elegant young woman languidly musing over a little dish of scones has nothing to do with the violent, devastating and passionate world of anorexia. And knowing the world of publishing, I bet it has nothing to do with the author's view of the topic either.
Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh
'Eating with your anorexic'
Thousands of parents, myself included, owe a debt of gratitude to Laura Collins for all her campaigning work, beginning with her book 'Eating with your Anorexic', which she wrote at a time when most clinicians found the notion of involving parents extremely off-putting.
Her daughter developed anorexia at a time when parents were told to back off and let the experts take over, but her research led her to FBT (Family Based Treatment), (which she refers to as 'The Maudsley method'), a method described in Lock and Le Grange's book 'Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder'.
Laura Collins did not have access to an FBT therapist, but went ahead as best she could. She writes a gripping and moving account of how she and her husband took control of their daughter's recovery. I could identify with all her struggles, tears and determination – if you feel alone, read this and you'll discover a kindred spirit.
Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, in addition to writing her ground-breaking book, has devoted herself to improving public understanding, treatment, and support for families in the eating disorder world. She writes that her hopeful plea is for better science and an end to blaming families and blaming patients for a treatable brain disease.
She has created several fantastic resources:
- the F.E.A.S.T website: a source of information for parents, clinicians, and the community. Particularly precious is the section The Facts : here you can read about causes, interventions, your role, and find links to research. F.E.A.S.T is supported by a number of specialists, researchers, and an army of knowledgeable parents, so I trust that the information in there is top-notch.
- an online forum for parents called 'Around the Dinner Table' , which I highly recommend. It includes a wealth of good information for parents in the Hall of Fame section.
'Please eat… A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia'
This is an honest and insightful account of how Bev Mattocks supported her son Ben as he journeyed through the hell of anorexia and out into the light. Her story is typical of many parents' experience with the illness. She hunted high and low for information and support, she battled the shamefully inadequate health system, she attended to her son's schooling and social life, dealt with enormous tensions at home, and made some heart-warming friends along the way. This is also very much Ben's story: from the opening scene where we find him in hospital hooked up to a heart monitor, we're rooting for him to come out winning and we celebrate every step towards his recovery.
If you're a health professional, read it to understand what parents are struggling with at home. You will learn things that parents might not dare tell you in your consulting room. If your friends or relatives think that anorexia is simply a refusal to eat, get them to read Ben's story. And if you believe anorexia is a girl thing, this book will sweep away your misconceptions.
Bev Mattocks has also produced 'When anorexia came to visit: Families talk about how an eating disorder invaded their lives', a book that collects the stories of several families. Reading it may help you find comfort in recognising that you're not alone in what you're experiencing.
The 'New Maudsley Approach'
I include this book because the skills are relevant to you if you're helping your child or teen. Please be clear that the approach is not, in spite of its title, an updated version of Family-Based Treatment/Maudsley. Indeed the book makes no reference at all to these. This approach comes from the adult eating disorders services of the Maudsley hospital in London, headed by Janet Treasure. It offers carers skills to support their loved one through whichever treatment they’re following, and it's not a treatment in itself.
Many of the skills are also useful to parents of children and adolescents, since they're about warmth and empathy. There are major differences though, as I explain here. Briefly: for teenagers the recommended treatment, FBT/Maudsley, requires parents to take charge, in a first phase, of meals, exercise and any purging behaviours.– without waiting for motivation. The New Maudsley Approach was developed for adults who have been ill a very long time. It teaches parents to be gentle dolphin-like guides, nudging towards motivation (using 'motivational interviewing'), 'readiness for change' and gradual improvements.
If you remember these differences, you can learn plenty from New Maudsley to develop your communication skills with your teen, and indeed the principles are in perfect accord with what you'll find in my own resources.
Autism and eating disorders in teens – a guide for parents and professionals
by Fiona Fisher Bullivant and Sharleen Woods
I am looking forward to the publication of this book (July 2020), as so few people are expert in both autism and eating disorders:
This is the first — and currently the only — book focusing on young people with both autism and an eating disorder. That makes it an essential read for therapists and for parents of an autistic teen.
From a couple of case studies, it is clear that individuals may have different reasons for using eating disorder behaviours, and treatment must be adapted to their needs. Likewise we may need to alter our expectations of what recovery looks like.
I see this book as an introduction to the subject, raising awareness of the gaps in the health system (England's in this case, but the issues are probably universal). Reading the case studies, I was appalled and grieved by the obstacles youngsters and their parents encounter in their search for effective treatment.
I gleaned some tips from the few teens and mothers quoted in the book, and I am left wondering how to extract from this some more generalised learning. Maybe this is an impossible ask, given the paucity of research in this field. Still, I am left wondering if the authors have more practical know-how to impart. I would appreciate clearer pointers on how treatment and conversations may need to differ, and how parents or therapists should adapt what they would normally do.
At present I am left feeling I can only extrapolate from the stories of two or three teens — and sadly none of them achieved the level of freedom from eating disorder thoughts that I would want for my child.
The authors make it clear that it is not appropriate to use a one-size-fits-all manualised family-based therapy. In the UK this means adapting guidelines from NICE, and I would have liked a better insight into what the modifications should be. It looks to me like treatment used in the case studies was mostly individual therapy and education. I couldn't get a sense of the extent to which parents were mobilised to help with meals, with weight gain, with practice with difficult foods or challenging situations, and with communication. As a result, after reading this book, I still wonder how ambitious one can be in treating autistic teens with an eating disorder.
Substance abuse, addictions, and eating disorders
A lot of people with eating disorders also engage in drug or alcohol abuse, and conversely a lot of people abusing substances also have an eating disorder. If your son or daughter is in this situation or if as a clinician you want to improve your ability to treat comorbid conditions, a good place to start is to listen to this podcast with Dr Timothy Brewerton. I have not read his book nor do I have any great knowledge of this area, so at this stage I'm signalling, not recommending.
Attractive cards to prompt compassionate connection
I've only had a glimpse at this pack of cards but I love what I've seen. The prompts seem so connecting. The drawings are suitable for any age and quite delightful. There's also a sheet with great suggestions how to use the cards to prompt for conversation.
This is presumably designed for therapists, though I can imagine some parents would find it helpful too. I love that the cards make space to listen to the person, to show them we're interested. Our children can too easily feel like they don't matter.
Podcasts: hear experts talk while you walk!
Welcome to the new world of podcasts. Hear all kinds of eating-disorder related topics discussed by people who know their stuff. And you don't have to sit at your computer to listen, you can download podcasts to your phone to listen while you're out and about (with my Android I use an app called "Podcast Addict"
Tabitha Farrar's "Eating disorder recovery" podcast
I love her genuine and warm tone, and she knows her stuff, covers crucial topics and has great guests (including me, giving tips for mealtime support). Topics include eating disorders in adults and in youngsters. Her website is also full of resources, especially for adult sufferers. Tabitha is, like me, part of the Mirror Mirror writing/editing team.
Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh's "New Plates" podcast
Another top-notch podcast (now paused) is "New Plates", from Laura whose praises I sang above.
Gürze-Salucore Resource Catalogue's "ED Matters" podcast
Gürze-Salucore has articles on eating disorders, it review books (including mine and publishes a catalogue of US care providers. You should not assume that everything there is up to date or top quality- for instance there are books in there about eating disorders coming from the relationship with fathers! However there's lots of great stuff too. I regularly listen to the company's podcast, ED Matters. I have heard fantastic stuff as well as the odd thing that made me flinch.
Mark Taylor's "Eating Disorder Insights" podcast
Mark Taylor's podcast is particularly interesting as he's a therapist in one of England's young people's eating disorder services. So you're getting good inside information on navigating the system, and good practical advice too.
The Full Bloom Project podcast
This is all about helping parents to create a body-positive ethos at home. How do you talk about your body, your child's body, other people's? How can you be more aware of any implicit fat-bias that you are unconsciously transmitting? How can you be a positive force in a fat-shaming, body-shaming, diet-obsessed culture? From Certified FBT therapists Zoë Bisbing and Leslie Bloch: www.fullbloomproject.com/podcast
Online workshops are increasingly available, and a great way to get started fast, or further develop your skills and knowledge. Below I list some workshops that parents told me they had benefited from.
- See my own workshops here.
- In the UK, the charity BEAT runs free workshops. They are based on the New Maudsley approach. I explain higher up how if you're the parent of a child or teen, you can benefit from this as long as you bear in mind that there is a difference between 'nudging' and relying on the person's motivation, and the family-based approach recommended for teens, which require parents to be in charge, in a first phase.
- Worldwide, you can also sign up for 'Carer Skills Workshops' based on the New Maudsley approach (see my comments above) run by parent Jenny Langley: https://newmaudsleycarers-kent.co.uk/ Her site makes many excellent course materials available, including some YouTubes.
- Worldwide, watch out for any webinars using Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). I love the warm humanity of Adele LaFrance and team, who display a deep empathy for families dealing with an eating disorder, and have great practical ways of teaching communication skills (see my book review here). Again, all compatible with my stuff!
Find support from other parents: internet groups
Groups are a great way for you to learn fast by reading other people's conversations. You can also ask questions, get cheered on and comforted. For some people, internet groups are a lifeline. I wish I'd used one of the online groups below when my daughter was hit by anorexia. There was a lot I could have learned and it might have saved my child many months of hospitalisation.
Having said all that, I also want to caution you:
Some parents can get distressed by other people's stories. If you notice your mood dipping when on a forum, it's counter-productive to be there.
Some parents have felt hurt or pushed around by responses that lacked the necessary level of empathy. They can feel they're not doing enough, that they are not good enough. You can protest, or you decide, as some do, that the group is not for them.
Be aware that if you get a dogmatic response from someone on a forum, that person may not have read your post in detail. We can speed-read and miss things. It takes a lot of time and care to fully understand your particular situation, and even then, you don't have the kind of careful exchange that you might get with a skilled therapist.
Sometimes on forums there is therapist-bashing. Yes there are some really bad therapists. But yours might be very good, and you don't know it yet (this happened to me).
Understand that when you get advice on any forum, unless a parent is quoting from research, they're 'just' giving you the benefit of their experience. Often they forget to write 'In my opinion' or 'In my experience'. Your situation may be different. Actually, your situation will be different. Even the treatment method that worked for some may not work for your child: some parents talk of FBT as it it was the only tool in the box, and then they give out some amount of misinformation on what FBT is.
We parents are on a learning curve, and when we've been in this field for a few years, we can reach a phase where we think we know it all, and that if we disagree with a clinician, they are wrong and we are right. It takes even more learning to realise there are many unknowns and that we have to be extremely careful. If we are too certain we can cause harm to some.
For example, you may pick up from a forum (and from my book) that parents should initially take charge of all meals and give no food choices. You may be told to not let a meal end after every last crumb is eaten or to use sanctions. Yet the advice should be far more measured. What is your situation? For instance, yes, removing choice is of great help — and a revelation and relief — to many, many families. But… with some kids, this approach leads to such a level of confrontation that it drags out the illness. Some parents have discovered the hard way that for them, it works far better to have a more collaborative approach, with meals planned together… as long as the parents are vigilant that the quantities and variety keep moving in the right direction.
When a parents asks, "Have you thought of doing xyz?" you may well hear that as advice, because you're new and they're experienced. Be careful. The opposite may be right for you.
Sometimes parents feel like the odd one out because an approach that’s worked for ‘everyone else’ is just impossible to implement in their own situation. It only takes one other person writing, ‘Hey, those responses were not helpful to me! I need something more along these lines,’ for everyone to start taking care again. And for new voices to pipe in, saying, ‘I’m in the same situation as you.’
So use these forums for their wonderfulness, and at the same time, remember your situation may be different from that of the person giving you advice.
Take care to protect your child’s anonymity, and be careful about the level of detail you give. With a short internet search, your child or your therapist can easily find what you write. There are parents who have deleted a year’s worth of posts and changed their username because their child discovered the site. Children have every right to want privacy.
Online support groups and events for parents
There's a great worldwide list here.
Around the Dinner Table forum
I am so impressed with the Around the Dinner Table forum, which is part of the parent organisation FEAST. It is not perfect — no group is — and the words of caution above apply. But the forum is moderated with care. Members get much support, kindness and encouragement. There is a commitment to sharing information that is science-based, and where science has no answers, there is a wealth of personal experience to draw from. You'll find help on feeding your child at home, or dealing with eating disorder inpatient units, or with clinicians who don't know enough about the illness.
The forum is international, but notice this section as it may help you immediately to get local information: 'Connect with local members wherever you are in the world'. Note also all the information for parents in the Hall of Fame section.
You have to join to post anything, but I believe anyone can read what's on the forum.
FEAST's Around The Dinner Table forum also has a Facebook group. It is closed, which means you cannot read posts unless you've joined. The fact that you're a member of the group will be visible to other Facebook users, so if you want total privacy, create a new Facebook account just for this. The group does roughly the same as the Around The Dinner Table Forum, so it may be a question of which format suits you best.
Another Facebook group is International Eating Disorder Family Support. There's also Parents of anorexia and other eating disorder sufferers support group. There are quite a few experienced and generous parents who are on all these groups at once, ready to support people who are new to this journey.
That's quite a few groups. You can join them all and see where you feel most informed and supported.
If your daughter with an eating disorder is also autistic, check for yourself what you think of this Facebook group : Girls with Autism & Eating Disorders – A Place of Care & Understanding.
There's also Facebook group EDParent2Pro where parents can pose questions to a small number of professionals.
The International Eating Disorder Action (IEDAction) Facebook group is a world-wide bunch of hard-working parents, carers, survivors, sufferers and others, campaigning for better education and treatment. They've also created a World Eating Disorders Action day (in June). There is also an IEDAction website.
Outstanding videos for carers
First, take note I have produced some video and audio resources for you. Check out, for instance the very popular short 'bungee-jumping' video.
There are some informative and 'how-to' videos by C&M Productions, created by Charlotte Bevan, and 'Mamame' who were two moderator/mentor members of the Around The Dinner Table forum. I believe Janet Treasure was part of the team. The all-important body language and setting is missing, because these are simple animations, but it's still worth listening to what's said.
For instance, ‘ Modelling support ’ shows a girl putting up many arguments against eating her lunch. ‘ Modelling effective parenting for eating disorders ’ is also about lunch, but here the dad deflects a huge amount of abuse from his daughter (though the abuse looks quite tame, without the body language!) In both cases you can see how the parent keeps on topic, remains non-judgemental, loving, and ultimately, supports their child to begin eating. Similar is ‘ Rolling with resistance ’ has a young man insists on salad instead of the food on his meal plan. The woman supporting him seems to be a hospital carer.
The Maudsley Parents website has a fantastic collection of videos, featuring some of best experts in the field. Watch, and in an hour or two you will learn what might have taken you a year of learning the hard way: http://maudsleyparents.org/videos.html
Maudsley Parents website
MaudsleyParents.org is a volunteer organization of parents who have helped their children recover from anorexia and bulimia through the use of Family Based Treatment (FBT) as manualised by Lock and Le Grange . It also has on board some of the best clinicians or researchers. FBT is also called the Maudsley approach (which is not the same as the approach described in 'Skills-based learning for caring for a loved one with an eating disorder – the new Maudsley method' by Janet Treasure, Gráinne Smith and Anna Crane.)
This site is about families helping their kids with eating disorders. There's a great 'ask an expert' section, and a helpful of page of book reviews on books about eating disorders. And again, there's a fantastic collection of videos, featuring some of best experts in the field.
Mirror Mirror website
A constantly growing website on eating disorders is Mirror Mirror. It's full of useful information pages written by top people in the field. That was my opinion before I was asked to join the editorial team in 2016, so I am glad to be part of it now.
- Lauren Muhlheim, Eating Disorder Therapy in Los Angeles: http://eatingdisordertherapyla.com/ Laura is a clinical psychologist, trained in Family-Based Treatment. She is writes for and oversees the content in the excellent Mirror Mirror site (which I am now involved in too) and in the eating disorder pages of verywell.com (which used to be about.com): https://www.verywell.com/eating-disorders-4014731
- Dr Julie O'Toole: http://www.kartiniclinic.com/blog/ There is a lot of medical expertise as well as a wonderful compassion in this clear and informative blog. You will learn tons from the archives.
- Dr Sarah Ravin: http://www.blog.drsarahravin.com/ She is an FBT-trained psychologist, with a commitment to scientifically sound information and evidence-based treatment. Every single one of her posts is written with great care and empathy, and I love her clarity. It's really worth checking out the archives.
- ED Bites: http://edbites.com has not been updated in a while but the old posts are still great. It is one of those rare things: a self-aware, scientifically engaged, non-triggering blog by someone battling anorexia. Carrie Arnold follows the scientific developments around eating disorders, and also shares her personal experience.
- Science of Eating disorders by Tetyana: http://www.scienceofeds.org/. Making sense of the latest findings in eating disorders research.
- Let's Feast: the FEAST blog on http://letsfeast.feast-ed.org
- FEAST's news (for announcements on research, conferences etc) is on http://www.feast-ed.org/news/
Lots of books
Others have compiled much more comprehensive book lists than I intend to. I'm assuming you're already pretty overloaded right now, so I've decided to give you only a small list of my absolute favourites.
For some great lists, get started here:
To keep up with research papers
If you’d like to keep up to date with research, the main sources are www.pubmed.gov, and also PubMed Central® (PMC), and www.plosone.org, which make their papers available to the public for free. Note that some of the blogs listed above tend to comment on the major new pieces of research.
Websites for information or support
Note that I don't personally know all of these.
B-EAT : www.b-eat.co.uk This is the obvious one to start with, though I don't know any parents who have directly got support from BEAT, apart from a few attending a BEAT-led parents' support group. I suspect BEAT would help you create a local group if you wanted to. BEAT seems to be mostly orientated towards supporting those suffering from an eating disorder, and also towards raising awareness in the media. 'Beat provides helplines, online support and a network of UK-wide self-help groups to help adults and young people in the UK beat their eating disorders.'
The Royal College of Psychiatrists : www.rcpsych.ac.uk
See the information I've collected for Scotland on this page.
Princess Royal Trust for Carers : www.princessroyaltrust.org.uk I don't personally know anyone who's used this, but it seems worth a try. 'The Princess Royal Trust for Carers has been fighting to provide carers with the support they so desperately need. The Trust understands that few of us plan to become carers, so when a caring role starts, every carer needs an expert to guide them through the maze of services, rules and entitlements. For a carer, this can make the difference between keeping and losing their job, or between staying healthy and collapsing under the stress. At the heart of The Trust is a unique network of 144 independently-managed Carers' Centres, 89 young carers' services and interactive websites (www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net) which deliver around the clock support.'
Edinburgh Carers Council : www.edinburghcarerscouncil.co.uk . 'We are an independent organisation that provides advocacy, information and learning opportunities to carers; regardless of where they live; who support someone who is in hospital, uses mental health services or has a mental disorder in the City of Edinburgh.'
The Eating Disorder Association of Ireland : www.bodywhys.ie 'Bodywhys provides a range of support services for people affected by eating disorders, including specific services for families and friends.'
National Eating Disorders Association : www.nationaleatingdisorders.org . 'NEDA is here to support the millions of families whose loved ones are battling eating disorders. How do we do it? By offering the latest information, resources, action-oriented advocacy and media campaigns to educate the public and policymakers and, most importantly, a sense of community to people often feeling alone and overwhelmed in their struggle to access quality, affordable care.'
EDANZ is active and has a helpful website: www.ed.org.nz They provide support, information, and resources for carers of people with eating disorders, educate doctors, nurses and other medical professionals working with eating disorder patients and lots more.
Eating Disorder Families Australia: established by parents and supports who have cared for and treated a young person with an eating disorder,. Advocates for the needs and roles of other parents during this experience.
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